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17 Divinity St
Bristol, CT, 06010
United States


Since 1975, O'Donnell Bros has been providing greater Bristol and Central Connecticut with residential and commercial remodeling solutions. We specialize in roofing, siding, windows, doors, gutters, downspouts and so much more. We look forward to helping you with all your remodeling needs. 

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O'Donnell Bros President, Bob O'Donnell, is a regular contributor to The Bristol Press. Read his home improvement articles here.


Filtering by Tag: efficient

A Quick Guide to LED Lightbulbs

Chelsea O'Donnell

Lighting can make or break the mood and functionality of a room. If it’s too dim, you’ll be stuck squinting and turning on extra power sources that you probably don’t need. If it’s too bright, you’ll feel like you’re in a grocery store or a shopping mall. With LED lighting, it can be tough to know what to buy to ensure that your lightbulbs function the way you need them to. But once you get the hang of it, making the switch is a no-brainer as the energy efficiency and longevity of an LED bulb pays for itself over and over again. Here is what you need to know to add this little improvement to your spring project list.

The first thing you’ll want to think about is whether you want a cool or warm hue in various rooms of your home. Light is measured in degrees Kelvin and the brightness of light bulbs mimic the brightness of the sun. To give you an idea of what this means, the sun is at its brightest at around midday when it measures a very bright, white-blue light that tops out at about 6000K. A morning sunrise or afternoon sunset will be a warmer or more orange hue and will measure in at about 3000K. Generally, 4000k is considered neutral.

So how do we convert that sunlight to inside light? If you’re used to incandescent bulbs, you’re probably thinking about wattage. But contrary to popular belief, wattage is actually the measure of energy a bulb uses as opposed to its brightness. To measure brightness you need to consider lumens, which will help make the conversion easier. As an example, a 60-watt incandescent bulb creates 800 lumens of light, but an LED bulb that produces the same amount of brightness only requires 15 watts.

So after figuring out the math, how do you choose the right bulb for your home? If you’re a 9-to-5er, chances are that you’re home a lot more often when the sun is coming up or going down, and you’d probably be more comfortable with LED lighting that replicates a warm glow. This is especially true in relaxing rooms like bedrooms and living rooms. In these cases, I would suggest no more than 4,000 lumens. If you work from a home office or do a lot of cooking, these rooms require brighter light, so 6,000 lumens of light or greater might be more appropriate. 

It’s also worth noting that many LED light bulbs come with dimmer settings which can be very helpful in controlling light so long as your current fixtures are set up for it. I’d also keep an eye out for the ENERGY STAR logo when shopping for LED lights. While many manufacturers offer serious energy efficiency claims, ENERGY STAR actually tests and certifies the ones that offer the best products in the market.

Bob O’Donnell is the owner of O’Donnell Bros. Inc., a Bristol-based home improvement company established in 1975. Email your questions for Bob to with the subject line “Ask the Pro.” All questions may be considered for publication. To contact Bob for your remodeling needs, call O’Donnell Bros. Inc. at (860) 589-5155 or visit Advice is for guidance only.

Everything That’s Fab About Prefab

Chelsea O'Donnell

Prefabricated construction, also known as modular or off-site housing, may conjure up images of trailer park communities in your mind. But prefab has come a long way in recent years, with architects and builders creating bold new housing designs in the comfort of a facility that reduces weather-causing building delays and increases opportunities for energy efficiency.

Years ago, stick-built homes were the most popular type of new construction and most of the homes in our area were built this way. The name comes from the method by which the home is constructed, piece by piece (or stick by stick) on the site of where the structure would eventually reside. While the common perception is that stick-built houses are more strongly constructed and offer a better resale value that prefab homes, there isn’t much evidence to confirm that this is actually the case. However, there are some advantages to stick-built homes. For instance, people who want to oversee the process of the home build can do so, as the house is constructed piece by piece from the ground up instead of being manufactured in a closed facility. Additionally, a stick-built home that’s designed by an architect will take the land it is being built on into consideration for efficiency and wear and tear, where a prefab home might not provide for those same considerations.

On the flip side, prefab homes do have a lot of benefits that make them well worth considering. While many prefab homes have a more contemporary look, they can be built to achieve any aesthetic style, from modern to a traditional log cabin. While people may think that prefab homes are limited to small, simple design, they can, in fact, be incredibly large and diverse, with many of the customizations that can be achieved through a traditional stick-built home. The pre-made parts are constructed offsite in a facility and then put together like a puzzle on-site. Because the homes are manufactured in a controlled and regulated facility, there is also less room for human error during the building process.

One of my favorite advantages to prefab homes is that many are super green. There is a new trend in home building called the passive house movement, which adheres to a set of design principles that attains rigorous levels of energy efficiency, resulting in reduced output and cleaner, healthier homes. Continuous and appropriate amounts of insulation, airtight sealing, high-performance windows, heat, and moisture balanced ventilation, and various forms of solar power of some of the ways these homes tick all the boxes for a healthier planet.

One thing that’s important to note if you’re considering prefabricated construction is, of course, the costs. While often less expensive than a stick-built home, a prefab home will have base costs included but fees associated with the land, site prep, shipping and other expenses will be additional. As with any home project, it’s important to always understand all the costs and fees associated with a project before jumping in.   

Bob O’Donnell is the owner of O’Donnell Bros. Inc., a Bristol-based home improvement company established in 1975. Email your questions for Bob to with the subject line “Ask the Pro.” All questions may be considered for publication. To contact Bob for your remodeling needs, call O’Donnell Bros. Inc. at (860) 589-5155 or visit Advice is for guidance only. Get in touch.